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Kick Inman’s Ass? Try Starting With an Agenda


I shouldn’t do it. I know I shouldn’t do it. But I can’t seem to resist, not after seeing the claims that many “smart people” were urging Odysseus to “kick Inman’s ass.”

Inman has long been a whipping boy for Greg for reasons that never had been made clear. There was the discussion of Inman’s decision to have Glenn Kelman of Redfin as a keynote speaker … wait … let’s go to the tape.

To the extent that Glenn Kelman is a weblogger at all, he is a corporate weblogger. He doesn’t know anything about real estate weblogging, as he made plain in his sweet, charming, engaging keynote address at last summer’s Blogger’s Connect.

… Brad Inman seems to carefully identify and recruit coveted audiences so he can spit on them, but, in this case, I think the man simply doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Come to the Blogger’s Connect keynote address and learn how to… what?

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Truly stoopid…

So stoopid, in fact, that Glenn’s on the bill for the keynote address for the Bloodhound Unchained event in less than two weeks. What his topic will be, I have no idea … the site still is promoting the now non-occurring debate between Glenn and Russell Shaw.

(It must take a lot of time to update a blog page. But the PayPal links still work.)

Say what you will about Brad Inman’s seeming dislike for real estate agents, or at least the commissions some of us earn, but he understands the basics of putting together an event. You know, little details like an actual schedule – for the main conference and the Bloggers’ Connect event alike.

Brief aside: It should be able to kick Blogger Connect’s ass … I mean do any of the following folks really know anything at all about real estate blogging?

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  • Kris Berg
  • Mike Simonsen
  • Ben Martin
  • Jeff Corbett
  • AG’s own Benn Rosales
  • Jay Thompson
  • Linda Davis
  • Laurie Manny (hope she does since she’s also at BHBU)
  • Mary Pop-Handy
  • Teresa Boardman
  • Joel Burslem
  • Pat Kitano
  • The ever-present David G. from Zillow
  • Rudy Bachraty
  • Joseph Ferrara
  • Todd Carpenter
  • Ardell Della Loggia
  • Jeff Turner
  • Jim Cronin
  • Dustin Luther
  • Nicole Nicolay
  • Daniel Rothamel

I didn’t think so either. (My apologies for not including links to all but it’s damn late.)

Try as I might, I can’t seem to find a comprehensive list of what exactly is being taught at BHBU … there’s one post with oblique references to the reportedly intense curricula, there are posts about prices going up for the conference and the DVD boxed set (maybe even with directors’ commentary and deleted scenes), but nothing on the main page where people are being pimped to sign up except for events that are not taking place.

Odd? Perhaps. But probably also par for the course. Chutzpah always has been part of the show, even though that self-proclaimed arrogance – the certitude of being right even when it’s not necessarily the case – has led to writers who helped build BHBU into what it was leave the kennel for more reasoned pastures.

Realizing the accusation of kicking a dog when he’s down could be applied, I go back to one of Greg’s own statements – that vendors are fair game. And in this instance, he is working as a vendor as evidenced by the mountain of self-promotion that has come to dominate BHB over the past several months.

I do give considerable credit to both he and Brian for having the audacity and fortitude to put together such an event. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Post a schedule. Tell people where the value is in specific terms, not generalities about being feral or a guerilla or whatever the buzzword of the day happens to be.

And be honest in the advertising. Given Greg’s programming abilities, it shouldn’t be too difficult to change the script at the top right of the page to reflect whatever Glenn’s going to be talking about.

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Hopefully, it’s a different speech than he gave at Inman Connect last summer. Otherwise, you’d almost have to be stoopid to listen to the same thing again. You know, since “he doesn’t know anything about real estate weblogging” – according to BHBU’s host.

Written By

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.



  1. Genuine Chris Johnson

    May 10, 2008 at 6:58 am

    Man oh man. All I’m sayin’. That’s a M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G choice. It’s as ridiculous as criticising someone for the WAY THEY GET BUSINESS….and we would never do that, right? ;-).

    And help me understand: does more people involved in something signify that it’s ‘good’? I know that we’re in an industry where between 4/5ts and 5/6th of the entrants fail within 24 months.

    Do we want to do what the crowd does, or do we want to stand above it?

    I’m asking sincerely, not trying to prove a point.

  2. Teri Lussier

    May 10, 2008 at 7:25 am

    >I shouldn’t do it. I know I shouldn’t do it. But I can’t seem to resist,

    Me either.

    Jonathon, I’m thinking that there will probably never be a good enough reason for you to go to BHBU, but it’s obviously not marketed to you. Don’t take it personally. All things are not for all people.

    fwiw, the distinction between Kelman at Inman and Kelman at BHBU is this: BHBU is about real estate *marketing* and Bloggers Connect is about real estate *blogging*. Kelman is a master at real estate marketing, so having him speak at a real estate marketing conference does in fact, make a lot of sense. Not so much at a blogging conference.

    Unchained is going to cover multiple aspects of real estate marketing, not only blogging! Much of it has been covered in posts on BHB at great length. Not being a reader, I can certainly see how you would have missed the extensive coverage of topics.

    Hope that clarifies things for you. 🙂

  3. Bob in San Diego

    May 10, 2008 at 9:38 am

    BHBU is about real estate *marketing* and Bloggers Connect is about real estate *blogging*.

    If your blogging isn’t marketing, then you are just wasting time around the water cooler.

  4. Kelley Koehler

    May 10, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Left, Right: meet the Middle. Hi.

    I’ve been waiting for the schedule for what feels like a long time. I’m going to miss part of the first day, and have no information about how to catch up with every one else or where. I expect a schedule for an event of this size to be emailed to me, or at least an email with instructions about how and where to pick up a schedule. I’m not going to wander around the museum in the asphalt abyss aimlessly trying to find the group.

    But, I do make the distinction that BHBU is about marketing and not necessarily blogging. Let’s call blogging a subset of marketing. And that’s an amazing list of folks presenting at Inman. I’m going there too.

    Thing is, I’m not expecting Inman to rock my world. I’m not sure I’m the intended audience. I expect to pick up a couple of gems from those folks, but otherwise, I expect Bloggers Connect to be geared more to the noob.

    On the other hand, I expect BHBU to be aimed at someone, well, aiming a little higher, if you buy into the marketing, or at least give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m an optimist. Best case scenario, I learn a bunch of cool stuff. Worst case, I’ll put you on speed dial and let you buy me a beer before I scurry home to wash the Phoenix off of me.

  5. Jay Thompson

    May 10, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Teri –

    With all due respect, how hard would it be to post an agenda for BHBU? One should not have to wade through a blog that has multiple posts a day to find out what is being discussed at a conference.

    Put an agenda up on — well, not there because apparently the organizers failed to secure that domain name. But post it somewhere. The subdomin on Bloodhound would be a logical choice. Or a link on BHB.

    How hard would it be to update (or remove) the lengthy post extolling the virtues of seeing Russell at Unchained that dominates the front page of (Until today’s announcement that the price is going up, that was the lead post).

    I wish there was an agenda published so when people call/email me asking about Unchained, and what it’s about, I could point them to it. And yes they do call / email me about Unchained. They seem to think I’ll be there. For the record, I do not ever denigrate or demean BHB or BHBU or anyone involved. But it would be so much simple for ALL if there was an agenda/outline in one place — not scattered about in various posts on multiple sites.

  6. Jonathan Dalton

    May 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Chris – a marketing choice? Give us your money and then we’ll tell you what we’re going to tell you? Or not, at least from the looks of Kelley’s response?

    Maybe I’m not a marketing expert but I’m not sure someone knocking on your door, asking for $200 and not telling you why is the best plan.

    Then again, it seems to work for my son’s soccer club (write checks, come to practice and don’t ask any questions) so who knows – maybe I’m crazy.

    One other thing – “more” people doesn’t mean it’s good. But if you don’t recognize those names as experts in what most of us are doing here, you’re not paying attention.

    Teri – you’re right. There’s nothing that would have caused me to attend. It may be Brian’s conference but Greg can build the next career he’s talked about in the past without my money. I’ve seen his marketing – he even once hijacked an AR post to print the whole plan.

    Having said that … I only stopped reading BHB in the last couple of months. And I spent time going through past posts last night as I writing this. If there’s ever been a full program listed, I sure have not seen it but I’d be happy to go view it.

    And that’s my point … before you begin discussions of kicking the ass of an established conference,
    open the doors for the first time. Maybe tell people what the conference is offering rather than just writing generalities. Back up the bluster with something other than more bluster.

    That would be transparency rather than a third-world election. “With all precincts reporting, 100% of votes have been cast in favor of BHBU kicking Inman’s ass. In sports today …”

  7. Laurie Manny

    May 10, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Not having been involved in any of the issues between BHB and Inman, I have managed to stay neutral. I consider it an honor to have been among the first invited to Inman and am pleased to say that, yes I will be going and that I am looking forward to the event. (Can’t wait to see everybody again, last year was sooooooooo much fun!) BHB is a fairly local event, just a short jump over to Phoenix, it is an easy event for me to attend. I was really looking forward to seeing Russell on the stage and still hope that he will change his mind. It is an opportunity for me to pay it forward. Having learned so much from so many, it has always been my belief that we all need to give back.

  8. Brian Brady

    May 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Jon and Jay bring up good points about conference marketing; we were woefully unprepared for the volume of work that is involved. Organizing a happy hour is a feat let alone a Social Media Marketing conference. The success (or failure) of this conference lays squarely upon my shoulders- I assure you that this experience has certainly broadened them.

    Kelley’s correct when she identifies Unchained as a marketing conference rather than a blogging conference; we believe blogging is but a component of Web 2.0 marketing. In fact, many of our attendees will choose not to blog but to pursue more profitable SMM activities (for them). She has correctly identified the differences between the two events.

    We faced some challenges when preparing an agenda. Many practitioners are suffering in this difficult market- it’s tough to ask them to abandon their business and present. That “moving target” has been challenging. The result, however, will be better than promised. Instead of 16 hours of worthy instruction, we’ll have 24.

    Will I “whup Inman’s ass?” Gosh, I hope so. I don’t think I’ll do it this year but I’ll never stop trying. I already know that the existence of BHBU inspired them to get more competitive with their offering. That’s a good thing. I’ll make Bloggers’ Connect more competitive and they’ll set the bar higher for me to jump over. Attendees of both conferences will benefit from our healthy rivalry.

    Here’s the cool part. Success is a journey, not a destination. In two weeks, I will have done it. Hardly alone. I would not be able to have pulled this off without the commitment of my partner, Greg, the sponsor, Zillow, the speakers, and most importantly, the practitioners who have entrusted their buck and a half to me, for three days. But…

    …I will have done it. I will no longer look at Brad Inman through the jaundiced eyes of a malcontent nor the adoring eyes of an obsequious admirer. I will gaze upon him with the steely eyes of a competitor. I’m pretty proud that I am one of the few people who will be able to say that.

    To use your parlance, Jon, I put on the uniform and stepped between the lines rather than to complain about the team’s record. Three contributors here, drove me to make BHBU a success:

    1- Jon taught he how to deal with the press (he’s a reporter)
    2- Jay taught me how to learn from a disenfranchised soul. (I watched and learned)
    3- Most importantly, Kelly taught me how to focus on who really mattered; the customer.

    Kelley, I hope you get your money’s worth- if you don’t my refund policy stands- ask for your money back.

    Jay, you’ve been a Bloodhound. By that definition, you’re welcome to attend, and be critical of the product, at no cost.

    Jon, you’re an active member of the Press. As this is a media conference, I’ll extend you the courtesy of a press pass and pray you exercise the very balanced judgment you exhibit for AP, to us.

    Whether you two accept or not is immaterial; I hope you do. The only person who matters to me, right now, is Kelley Koehler. She is my customer.

  9. Jay Thompson

    May 10, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Brian –

    Personally, I can’t imagine the logistics involved in putting something like this on, and you and Greg are to be commended for all your efforts. I truly hope it’s a success for you, and more importantly your customers.

    “We faced some challenges when preparing an agenda. Many practitioners are suffering in this difficult market- it’s tough to ask them to abandon their business and present.”

    I can respect that. To be candid though, if I were a paying customer, I would be very concerned that eight days prior to the start of the conference I haven’t seen an agenda or schedule. It’s asking people to have an awful lot of faith pay for plane tickets, a hotel, expenses and admission based on promises.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’d sure like to see an agenda before plunking down $350 — and I don’t have to buy a flight or book a hotel stay. I know the 3 – 4 calls/emails a week I get about BHBU are all wanting to see an agenda.

    Did you consider asking any of the local Phoenix RE practitioners to present? There are a few here who are likely qualified. And it’s far easier (and cheaper) to work around things if you’re local. Just something to consider for the next time — I’m not trying to tell you how to do things, just offering one potential way to minimize this particular issue

    You can do with this suggestion however you see fit, but to me (and maybe I’m the only one) having a lengthy piece on the main Unchained site about Russell Shaw, who is no longer attending or speaking from what I’ve gathered, is incredibly misleading and deceptive. It takes about three mouse clicks to remove a post like that.

    (BTW, your post there today says the price goes up to $350 at midnight tonight, but the PayPay link is already charging $350. I have no question you’d refund someone the difference if they paid today, but I speak from personal experience when I say refunding through PayPal is a PITA…)

    I appreciate the offer to attend for free. That is quite generous, and is appreciated. I assumed (and I know, that’s generally a bad idea) that when I got an email from Greg with pricing and instructions for paying (received when I was an active contributor to BHB) that I was expected to pay. I know I was not the only contributor surprised by this. I’ve got several appointments already booked during those days, and am going to Dallas on the 20th to meet with an investor. But I’d love to stop by sometime as there are some old friends I’d like to say hello to, and on-line friends I’ve never met face-face. I’ll do my best.

    Here again, selfishly this time, is where it would be great to have some sort of agenda as it would allow me to possibly re-arrange some appointments to attend portions.

    There was talk at one point about have a segment like an “Unconference” or a open round-table. Is that still planned?

  10. Jonathan Dalton

    May 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Brian – just called, probably ought to call back and leave a message. You’re a good and decent man. Just thought you ought to hear that from me.

    I give you all the credit in the world for trying to pull this together. It’s a substantial undertaking, one beyond what I would be willing to attempt unless there was some marvelous payoff at the end.

    The offer of a press credential is appreciated and I may avail myself of it for the keynote speech, if nothing else. I have to see how the schedule is shaping up as there are a few different things in flux.

    I have no feelings for or against Inman; if this becomes a more viable event, more power to you. I just thought it was fairly premature for such statements (not in the post I referenced but made in the past by your partner) when there’s not even an agenda posted to explain what’s being taught.

    Jeff Brown usually sums it up best when he says about skinning cats. (My 9-year-old heard us discussing this and was mortified until I explained.) For me to skin more cats, I need to hear from those who are skinning more cats than I am. That’s one of the reasons I never signed up.

    If down the line both conferences become better for the competition, all the better.

  11. Bob

    May 11, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Schedule is posted. Not sure how anyone makes a comparison to Inman. These are two different animals. Personally I don’t think either are of all that much value. Nothing new with either.

  12. Joseph Ferrara.sellsius

    May 14, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    BOTH conferences will be rewarding because of the people who attend and share ideas. Heck, I can have a rewarding pool party if I had the right folks there. But pray tell, why does one have to kick the other’s ass, Brian, Greg? This is further proof of the true source of personal insult, invective, and divisiveness in the blogging community — it is not the “mob”, as Brian Brady and Greg Swann like to refer to the unwashed masses outside the hound pound — it is those 2 dawgs (I use the slang term, meaning dudes, so don’t get your briefs in a bundle Brian. If I was going to insult them, I’d call them horses’ asses). Evidence of this separatist/elitist/cultist attitude is in Brian’s #8 comment to Jay– you’ve been a “bloodhound”. Bloodhound? Dude, he just wrote there. You guys aren’t serving Flavor Ade at the conference are you? 🙂

    Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with them flame-baiting, but let’s call it what it is, for hallowed Transparency’s sake.

    I get that Swann is capable of organizing a good conference– though Kelman seems an odd choice for keynote — Kelman’s marketing involves, in large part, getting speaking gigs at conferences like Inman. Also, Redfin does not use traditional offline marketing AT ALL– most long established (profitable) players emphasize the value of 360 degree marketing— you’d advise that approach, right Brian? Heck, I’m not even sure what Redfin’s online marketing is other than their blog which apparently uses unsupervised subcontractors and has no editorial review process (maybe after the Berg affair, someone will look over a post before it goes public. Geez, that’s Business 101 stuff, Glenn. Yeah, one can really learn something about how not to market from that blogging policy.)

    What I don’t get is how Greg Swann can authoritatively speak on using blogging & social media to generate real estate business when :

    1. he admittedly does not blog for business (IMO, it makes it easy to justify why you don’t get any);
    2. he does not use social media AT ALL; and
    3. he apparently doesn’t list/sell many houses using ANY kind of marketing (oh yeah, he turns down virtually all the listings because the client wants to ask too much (he might reconsider his policy of charging a $1500 listing retainer— it’s not such a wise marketing strategy in a down market, especially when you have virtually no sales track record to back you up).

    How long has he been a broker anyway– 2-3 yrs? That would make him a mere pup. I’d wager he has never marketed in a down market. His audience could probably teach him a thing or two about that.
    Hey, it’s folks’ money to spend it as they wish— but perhaps he owes them his credentials & real estate experience before he asks them to plunk down their money for his speeches.

    Brian, will there be stats showing success/ROI of the various marketing methods so agents get a sense of which marketing strategies work best and how to allocate their limited time? Or are you just offering a bunch of choices?

    In any case, I wish Swann good luck with his conference (sorry Brian, but it will go down as such. I hope you at least negotiated the copyrights since he’s using his trademarked dog logo to market the conference). Doing anything for the first time is anxiety-ridden and Murphy is always in attendance. I will be the last to criticize it, for I sense his heart is in the right place on this one. More importantly, he has assembled a good bunch of folks. Mary McKnight knows more about blogging for business than ANYONE and Laurie Manny didn’t get to #1 on Google by merely writing good content. Those two alone are worth 300 dollars (and a thousand Glenn Kelmans).

    (For those who want to know the backstory on Swann’s abuse of all things Inman, it is here– strictly my opinion folks:

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